On Dec. 15, 2011, the night of Art Walk Spartanburg, Carolina Gallery is hosting Cliff “Kringle” Snider as Santa Claus. This Santa, who has a special relationship to gallery artist Linda Hyatt Cancel, will be greeting Art Walk visitors in his distinctive persona as a spiritual Santa from 6 to 8pm.
Over ten years ago, fine art painter Cancel sent one of her works to a printing company in North Carolina to be reproduced as a lithograph. Cliff Snider, a printer with that firm, admired her expertise and commissioned her to do a portrait of him as Santa. Snider was no ordinary bell ringer. At the age of 16 and newly grieving for his father who was killed in an automobile accident, his church youth group pressed Snider to don the fake wig, beard and red costume appropriate for handing out gifts at their Christmas party for children at a nearby mission. “Little did they know that God was giving me a mission for my life,” Snider admits. Since then, he pursued every possible way to become Santa, including his “Master of Santa Claus, MSC” from the International University of Santa Claus. He is naturally bearded and designs his own wardrobe, but the purpose for his total immersion is that, “As Santa Claus, it is my desire to represent God’s love at Christmas, by sharing the True Reason for the Season, the birth of Jesus Christ.”
Cancel shares Snider’s desire to represent the spiritual aspect of Christmas with six original oil paintings of Santa in her series. The newest one, released in 2010, is titled The Hour, and has inspired chills in a lot of people. For this portrayal, Snider posed in a Bishop’s chair in the Church of the Epiphany in Laurens, South Carolina, wearing a warm cloak custom made from his grandmother’s quilt. The light streaming through the window illuminates a pensive Santa, reflecting on the watch he holds in his hand. A carving of the Last Supper, with Christ centered right above him, is seen behind.
Cancel has released a limited number of lithographic prints and giclees on canvas of each piece in her Santa series, available at Carolina Gallery. In addition, she creates a wide range of oil paintings, from realistic to impressionistic, with rich, multi-layered tones. An award winning artist, Cancel has work in many private and public collections across the country.
Carolina Gallery is located at 145 West Main Street in Spartanburg, SC.
For information call 864/585-3335 or visit (www.carolinagalleryart.com).